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China and Constitutionalism: A Symposium

China and Constitutionalism: A Symposium

Noted political activists discuss the challenges of creating a constitutional government in China.

By Clayton Dube

Date: Friday, Feb. 21
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: 175 Dodd Hall, UCLA

Panelists:
  Liu Junning
  Wang Dan
  Wang Juntao
  Yu Haocheng

Chair:
 Richard Baum (Professor of Polical Science and Director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies)


Liu Junning is a distinguished scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Beijing University. He is the author of many works, including Republic, Democracy, Constitutionalism: Studies of Liberal Thought and Beijing University and the Liberal Perspective, and has been recently impressed by the liberalizing impact of the rapid rise in internet use in China. In 1999 he was among the liberal thinkers and writers "blacklisted." His 1998 essay "What are Asian Values?" is included in the The Chinese Human Rights Reader (2001). Liu has spoken at many US venues including the Cato Institute, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago.

Wang Dan was a twenty year-old student at Beijing University when he came to international attention as one of the leaders of the pro-democracy student demonstrations in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square in the spring of 1989. Following the violent suppression of the demonstrations on June 4, Mr. Wang headed the Chinese government's most-wanted list. He was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. Mr. Wang was released from prison in 1993, but was detained in 1995. After holding Mr. Wang without charges for seventeen months, the Chinese government formally arrested him in October 1996. He was then convicted of attempting to subvert China's government and was sentenced to eleven years in prison. On April 19, 1998, Chinese authorities released Mr. Wang from prison and placed him on a plane to the United States. A month later he spoke at UCLA: http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/wang-dan.htm. He is now studying Chinese history at Harvard University.

Wang Juntao was born in 1959 and was a high school student at the time of the 1976 anti-Gang of Four demonstrations in China. He authored the most famous of that movement's protest poems:
 In my grief I hear demons shriek;
 I weep while wolves and jackals laugh.
 Though tears I shed to mourn a hero,
 With head raised high, I draw my sword.
 [Xiao Lan, ed. and trans., The Tiananmen Poems (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1979), 24.]
Wang was subsequently sentenced to thirteen years in jail. The fall of the Gang led to his release after seven months. He went to Beijing University and earned his degree in physics in 1981. He participated in subsequent pro-democracy protests and in the late 1980s co-founded the Beijing Social Economics Studies Institute. This enterprise conducted surveys, sponsored social research, and pushed political and economic reform. Wang advised the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Democracy Movement and was later labelled by the Chinese government as one of the "black hands" behind the demonstrations. In fact, he had argued with student leaders and called for a moderate course. He was arrested in fall 1989. In 1991 he received a sentence of thirteen years. While in jail he contracted hepatitis B. He was given a medial release in 1994 and came to the United States. Wang is a doctoral candidate in political science at Columbia University.

Yu Haocheng is a a distinguished legal scholar and was the Dean of the Institute of Chinese Law and Social Development. Known for pushing reform of China's legal system, Yu also headed the Public Security Bureau's Qunzhong (Masses) publishing house and published the first Chinese translation of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. In 1988, he joined many activists in writing for the short-lived journal New Enlightenment. Following the 1989 crackdown, Yu was detained for a year and for the next four years was not permitted to leave China. This changed in 1994, when concern over the US Congress's willingness to continuing to extend China most favored nation status caused the authorities to let him travel to the US. Since then, Yu has been a director of the organization Human Rights in China and has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, and UCLA.


An English version of the PRC constitution is available at: http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/documents/prc-cons.htm.

 

 

Asia Institute